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Monday, February 20, 2012

Finnegans Wake reference in 'Cat'

Gary Acord (@gacord on Twitter) wrote to me a pointed out a reference in The Universe Next Door, the first book of Robert Anton Wilson's Schroedinger's Cat trilogy, to the opening of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake.

Joyce: "riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodious vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs."

Wilson: "Elverun, past Nova's atoms," the hairy Moon read on to his small circle of admirers, "from mayan baldurs to monads of goo, brings us by a divinely karmic Tao-Jones leverage back past tallchief tactics and aztlantean tooltechs to Louses in the Skidrow Dimehaunts. This way to Humptytheatre."

Moon is Simon Moon, reading from a manuscript "at one of Epicene Wildeblood's wild, wild parties" in the chapter "Louses in the Skidrow Dimehaunts" of The Universe Next Door. Gary tells me it's on page 47 of the one volume omnibus of Schroedinger's Cat. In the original Pocket Books paperback, copyright 1979, it's on page 66.


michael said...

There are a few other examples. See Sput Sputnik's "Bump In The Night," SCT omnibus ed, 326-327.

See earlier, same vol, p.284, Justin Case's dream. Then Case's dream, p.300.

There are other passages on RAW's books that seem to follow the most Wakean section of Ulysses, the "Circe," or 'Nighttown" episode.

Wakelang in Illuminatus!? check maybe 286, 291, 292-293, 632-633, etc.

Of course Masks of the Illuminati would have Wakelang passages. See, e.g, p.85, 115-116.

Shem the Penman on p.449 of SCT...

Oz Fritz said...

Great timing with this post!

gacord said...

After stumbling into this one, I've been planning a re-read to actively look for more. RAW did say Joyce was always in his writing. I'm beginning to think he just might keep "scholars" busy for years as well (but I think most of "us" might just be looking for more of the jokes.) Thanks for this quick list, Michael, that ought to get me started nicely. I can't believe you had this many right at your finger tips so quickly after Tom posted this. Wow.

michael said...

Mr. Wagner would be my go-to guy regarding Joyce's infl on RAW. (Joyce lurks virtually omnipresent in all of RAW's fiction and a lot of his non-fic).

I assume that because FW transcends space-time it can also show up in the 18th century. For example, check out the embedded counter-text/footnote on p.320, on the 17 years it took for de Selby to make his odd contraption, and the response of the bitchy and territorial scholars to de Selby's "time machine," which may have allowed de Selby to be at the storming of the Bastille, or ancient Rome. Are the de Selby counter-text/footnotes "in" present-day or "is" de Selby's 'pataphysics trans-space/time like FW?

michael said...

[Ulysses published in 1922; FW took 17 years to emerge fully-fledged, in 1939.]

Eric Wagner said...

Bob told me he wished reviewers commented more about Joyce's influence on him.

He also told me that if I wanted to improve my prose style I should read Ulysses forty times. I've almost finished my ninth reading of it, so I feel remiss.

I remember sitting with him and some friends at a restaurant, and one of them asked him the best introduction to Joyce. In my worst Cosmic Schmuck manner I interrupted him and suggested reading Joyce's The Cat and the Devil and Wilson's Masks of the Illuminati. Bob chuckled and said he'd forgotten about The Cat and the Devil and that it sounded like a good suggestion.